Magnuson Series Races – Earth Day Run

For two years in a row now, I have run  the Earth Day Run that is part of the Magnuson series races, which occur once per month of varying distances. It is very family-oriented which I like. The one I ran most recently was held on Earth Day this year and was called the Earth Day Run. Distances offered were a 5K, 10K, kids dash and a half marathon which is what I did.

The day of the race, tons of parents brought their little ones for the kids dash before they entered the 5K themselves. Some kids were as young as 2 years old, barely standing straight. But they were super cute. Some really showed their determination to win, some need to be encouraged by their parents and some just seemed to dread the whole idea of walking/running. But the faces of the parents were like “come on, kiddo. You can do this!”

The kids who ran the dash with such focus, I think someday they will grow up to be teenage champions – they already have the form and finesse of a real runner. Real running shoes, the whole package!

About 10 minutes after the kids dash, the “adult” races began. The 5k was one loop, 10k was two, and the 21k was 4 loops and a mini loop at the end. I liked this race because it looped around a very nice park called Magnuson Park (by the shores of Lake Washington). The park is easy to get to and there is lots of free parking. It was quite busy for a Sunday, with part of the park hosting a soccer game that was ongoing during the whole 4 loops that I ran.

All runners started together despite what distance they were running, so the first loop was full of runners, but the group thinned out as each minute went by. For the second loop there were fewer runners but enough that each was still in proximity with one another. The third loop became sparser and then finally for the fourth loop, runners were super separated. For each loop, volunteers marked down our times, and they indicated during the last loop that once we passed the last checking point, we still had a km to go. As the faster runners were finishing, I was on the third loop, and then as I was finishing, the walkers were beginning their last loops. But it was really hard to tell who was finishing and who still had more distance to cover.

The course had one mini hill – very mini but rather testing on my legs. It was just after I passed a dog park. There were lots of dogs barking so it was a nice awakening call before I began climbing that steep short hill.

On my last loop, it began to rain a bit, but it was a refreshing kind of rain. About 10-15 minutes after it stopped and the sun was shining brightly. And I was making my way home. The distance didn’t seem as far this time and I actually enjoyed myself!

Thanks to the volunteers who tirelessly waited till everyone finished. It was a very nice race and definitely I would come back for other Magnuson series runs!

Sharing a few photos of the day of the race.

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Easter Fun Run at Stanley Park

What does Easter mean to many people? Besides being an important religious holiday, families like to get dressed up and head to Easter Sunday brunch. For kids, it means the appearance of the Easter Bunny and partaking in the Easter egg hunt.

I decided to sign up for a festive Easter fun run, which was actually really fun! It consisted of 3 different distances, a 1k, 5k and 10k. I chose the 10k.

Each race participant was assigned different bunny names and mine was…Freckles Haresfoot! I think the name was quite appropriate considering I do have freckles and they come out more after being in the sun! Everyone was also given bunny ears to wear.

For the 1km race, there were families running with their little kids; folks dressed as bunnies racing the 5k; and then some more serious bunnies running the 10k. Seeing the little kiddies with their bunny ears really put a smile on everyone’s faces.

The first 400m of the race was uphill. I was totally not prepared for it. I registered this race with “fun” in mind, so I was not very serious nor focused. It is funny how our mind perceives things. It was also difficult because there were lots of cyclists, families taking walks, and roller-bladers all sharing the same path along the Stanley Park seawall on an extremely busy Sunday morning. So manoeuvring around required a bit more care and attention.

I always have a love-hate relationship with the Stanley Park seawall. Love it because it has
to be one of the most scenic and gorgeous routes, but hate it because the path is very misleading. Just as you think you are at the end of the seawall, you still have a ways to go, and there are lots of turns which I personally do not particularly like while running. Maybe another reason why I hate it is because when I first started running, my husband used to bring me there for long runs and he was always so far ahead of me! Other than that, I will definitely vote Stanley Park as one of the prettiest parks in the world!

I do not recall whether they gave out medals for this race or not. But if I have to summarize this race, it was just fun, fun, fun!

I will come back for this race next year for sure. The organizers did a superb job with the planning. I had so much fun. The warm-up was fun, the race was fun and everyone was in good spirits! I think occasionally it does our body and mind good to take away the seriousness of running and just race for fun! I’ll be hoppity hop hopping to the next race 🙂

Spring Dash Run

After running the Hollywood Half (see my previous post), the next day I was in Long Beach to run a 10KM race. That Sunday was a gorgeous Southern California morning with the sunlight peeking through the tall palm trees. Absolutely breath-taking. And the ocean breeze blowing on my face made the morning irresistible for running.

The route along the ocean was incredibly scenic. There were surfers getting ready for a day of surfing. Lots of RV’s parked in the parking lots along the course. Bikers, roller-bladers. A typical SoCal beach scene.

This race offered a 25KM option and a 30KM option as well. I’m glad I chose to do the 10KM race because those running the longer distances had to be self-sufficient as there were not many water stations along the way. It turned out to be a hot morning that even the ocean-breeze did not help my body to cool down.

I was totally mesmerized by the beauty and sounds of the ocean waves. I felt so free running in that kind of environment. And I realized in those moments how lucky we runners are. We get to explore the beauty of different places through running.

The race participants were mainly a younger crowd. It seemed like everyone was perfectly suntanned (very typical Californian looking!)

For me, I treated this race more as a recuperative run from the day before. I did okay considering it was my second day racing. Normally, I don’t race much 10Ks, but since I wanted to build my mileage (for my upcoming marathon) I thought this was the easiest way to do it.

It was a great weekend. I felt accomplished for having flown so far and gotten 2 races in. So with that, I felt prepared for my May marathon which I will cover in a later post!

May I share the beautiful pictures I took along the way. Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do 😉

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Hollywood Half Marathon

The location of this race needs no introduction. Lights, Camera, Action!

I must admit that not too many races can compare to the start of this race. It is exactly the location where the annual Oscars Awards Show is held every year which is at The Kodak Chinese Theatre. It has lots of history. Although I have never stepped inside the theatre, I can imagine the old Hollywood glamour, the place where so many famous actors and actresses have stepped foot inside. The Hollywood walk of fame is outside of the Kodak Theatre. I got a picture with one of my favourite actors: Ryan Reynolds – who is a fellow Canadian. I took pictures of other famous stars too.

LA to begin with is just cool, but to have a race along the Hollywood Boulevard where the road is closed off makes it even cooler.

Even at the bib pick up, there was a red carpet set up with a life-size Oscar sculpture for runners to take pictures. I obviously did not miss out on the opportunity. It was different, so LA!

On the morning of the race, we circled around to find parking and was lucky enough to find a spot close to Mel’s Diner. I do not know exactly how old the restaurant is but I am certain as with the theatre itself, many of the past clients must have been some famous Hollywood producers, script-writers, actors and actresses. What was so cool about it was that the décor maintained its 1920s feel, with jukeboxes at each single table which all were still in operation.

Back to the start, when we got there, the cops were on motorcycles and were already blocking certain roads and intersections. The morning was cool and the skies were pitch dark when the race started around 6:30am. I like races nice and early as I get the rest of the day to do other things.

The course was kind of loopy, in one way and out another, with many gentle hills. I enjoyed running into 2 of my buddies on the course. They spotted me first and were so kind to take pictures of me during the race. One of our photos were taken with the Hollywood sign behind us. Cool!

We kept passing each other numerous times along the course, until the last two miles when they finally slowed down for me (not that I sped up to them)! It was nice having people to run with during the last little bit.

Again, we took pictures together and ran to the finish line together. We got our medals and goodies and started walking back to the car when we decided to have brunch. Not just any restaurant – Mel’s Diner! I cannot stress enough how neat the whole dining experience was. The restaurant was full by the time we sat down. We were lucky to get a table. Overall it was a great day accompanied by great company.

This is one race every runner should consider doing because the concept is so unique and different. I enjoyed myself tremendously. Hopefully I will be back next year and maybe next time I will spot a celebrity at Mel’s Diner!

 

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April Fool’s Run

This was the 2nd year I ran this. It was one of those last minute decisions where I signed up the week of the race. It was a very nice race, as we got to run on Vancouver Island – which is a short ferry ride from Vancouver, B.C., about 45 minutes from Horseshoe Bay, just north of West Vancouver.

My husband and I never bother making reservations for the ferry, although the ferry always advises travellers to do so to guarantee a specific sailing time. Nowadays, going over with a car and passengers is mighty expensive and to make a reservation, one has to pay $15 on top of the cost of each passenger. We really did not mind the wait as it was minor, maybe because we took the 7:30am ferry, which was clear sailing. Just a handful of cars and definitely not crowded.

It was a beautiful but cool morning. Going on the ferry always proves a lot of fun for us. We always guess if we’ll be directed to the upper or the lower deck. The most dreadful part about taking the ferry is having to grab our belongings from the car and walk the long flight of stairs to the desired deck. My legs were especially heavy that day. However, once you get up to the passenger decks, the view is usually so breathtaking!

Once we made it upstairs, we picked some quiet seats and just chilled. Looking out, I always remind myself why the slogan on our license plates says Beautiful British Columbia. Definitely not because of its over-crowdedness and high-rises constantly being built, but because of the raw beauty of its mountains & water.

Looking out, it was very pretty. I hardly felt like I was going to a race, but more so going on a day-trip to the island. We saw several runners who were also racing that morning. Everyone was relaxed.

As we got off the ferry, the race venue was a mere 10 minute drive. As we arrived, the shuttle buses carrying runners were already dropping off walked-on ferry passengers. We all walked into the community centre to pick up our bibs. On the way out, we spotted the BMO mascot, so I grabbed a picture with him. I like doing kiddish things like that, it just makes me chuckle!

This race was odd, as the start was at 9:17 a.m.( or some sort of odd time). In the crowd were a few people who dressed up for April Fool’s Day but not too many. Nice to see that mix in the crowd.

As soon as the race started, there was this slight climb. Oh my, my legs felt like they were glued to the ground. The first 400 metres felt so hard. This was a hilly course all right. So if anyone registered thinking it would be a fair course, they were definitely fooled!

Seriously, this race was non-stop climbing, one hill after another. And one of the hills were super long, about one mile straight.

It got warmer as the race went on and I started heating up. It was nice to see much of the community volunteering for this event. Even the senior citizens. One lady in particular who was dressed up – I recognized her from last year. Extremely friendly and enthusiastic. I would definitely nominate her as the best volunteer of the day!

I talked and ran with another woman throughout a great portion of the race, until about the 20 km mark when I passed her. The last kilometre was still uphill, and I just wished to get it over with. A few runners charged to the finish, while I took my time jogging to the finish. I did not have any time expectations, I just wanted to cross that finish line. What helped me get there was spectators who shouted “I like your shirt!” which said, “run for the bling”! It was a special shirt I bought in Florida.

So for April Fool’s, I fooled myself into running all these hills for the bling! On to the mission for more bling (finisher’s medals!)

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Cupcake Run Half Marathon

Who wouldn’t like cupcakes at the end of a run? Personally, I like cupcakes any time of the day. If I did not have to monitor my caloric intake, I would have a cupcake a day. Have you noticed the cool designs and the variety of flavours out there now? In the old days, cupcakes were so basic. Nowadays, the rainbow of colours are so appetizing. Just thinking about them makes me hungry.

The name Cupcake Run has a history. The race director was turning 45 the first year she organized the event, and so she decided on the name “Cupcake Run”. How fitting, birthdays with cupcakes. Since that inaugural year, the event has continued to attract more runners. The organizer actually has a number of Cupcake Runs throughout the year, all with the same theme of serving cupcakes at the end of the race.

This Cupcake Run was held in March in Arlington, Washington. It was comprised of a 50K, half marathon and a 10K. If I were to run the 50K, I would definitely want to eat as many cupcakes afterwards!

When I got to the venue, I was already eyeing the finishers’ table. No cupcakes yet. But I saw many, many familiar faces. Lots of Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics. Most surprising of all was seeing Steven and Patti there. It had been almost over a year since I last saw them. Believe me when I say they are the most humble and down-to-earth couple around. And just in case you don’t know Steven, he is one of the founders of the Marathon Maniacs club, which just celebrated its 14th anniversary. I am pretty sure when the 3 founding Maniacs started this “most insane” running club, they couldn’t have imagined that the number of members would grow to what it is today. Over 15,000 members each for the Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics club and still growing. What a success!

The club is world-renowned and its members are global. Often, at a half or a marathon event when I’ve worn Marathon Maniac/Half Fanatics gear, other Maniacs or Fanatics have come up to say hi – there is that form of camaraderie when you’re part of the club. Additionally, at some races we get special privileges such as private bathrooms or after-race lounge areas. There are good perks in joining this club, besides being called “crazy”!

As soon as the gun went off for the start of the half, the front runners charged off like darts. I always remained in the mid-pack. I ran with another Half-Fanatic who told me she was racing a marathon the following week. Quite a taper! She finally told me to go ahead of her if I wanted, so I ran up to another group of runners and chatted until we stopped to ask a runner who just hurt her knee. We were all concerned. But she insisted on continuing with her race. We passed her and continued on. I talked about injuries with another runner. She happens to be a physiotherapist and said she always tell her clients to rest and recover fully before attempting to run again (but she secretly admitted she’s made exceptions for herself).

It was one of those days where, throughout the whole race, I felt I could run forever. I was feeling strong. As I was running back towards the finish, I spotted the injured runner again. I stopped to check if she was doing okay. At that moment, some volunteer on a bike brought her a sandwich and she said she would be fine. So I passed her and shortly I came upon 12.5 miles on my watch.

I kept running hoping for a strong finish, and like I said I was feeling good and I was in the zone. I guess I was way too much in the zone because I missed the cut-off point to the finish line and ended up continuing on until I hit 14 miles. I looked around and realized something was not right. Indeed. I realized that I had kept going instead of making a left turn towards the finish, so I had to find my way back to the finish. There was no one around me, not in front or behind. My instincts told me to head towards the road; when I got there the shoulders on the road were so narrow, almost non-existent. I started to panic because I had no clue if I was going in the right direction and I had no money or phone on me. Cars were passing me so fast, I felt a real sense of danger running on the shoulder, so I slowed down to a light jog, taking it one step at a time. I noticed the road that I drove by that morning to get to the race and followed it; luckily I had slight memory of what sights I had passed so by the time I spotted the parking lot, I finally felt a bit calmer. Never had I felt so lost or frightened. Despite being an experienced runner, the unexpected can still happen.

When I got to the finish line (but going the opposite way), I realized I had run almost 15 miles. I didn’t see my husband at the finish line because he had gone searching for me, suspecting that I had probably gotten lost or hurt or something. I waited at the finish line for him, and when we saw each other we both felt relieved.

Once I was fully calm, I explained the situation to the race organizer. In order to get a finishing result, I had to prove to the race organizer that I had run longer. The runners who were behind me at mile 12.5 all pointed out to the race organizer that they saw me running ahead on the trail. But besides their word, how else was I supposed to prove myself? Luckily when I got home, I was able to download my GPS results which I forwarded to the race director. It was accepted and I was able to get my results. Phew, what an adventure!

I thank my lucky stars for guiding me.  I still have goose-bumps each time I think about this race; the danger and the what-ifs that run through my mind.

So despite all those thoughts of mouth-watering cupcakes, I unfortunately did not have a chance to joyfully sample them. But I must thank the organizers and their family putting on such a fun race, despite my mishap. Portions of this race’s proceeds go towards needy families, which I am always in support of. It was a scary adventure for me personally, but I now know the proper route and will be back for more cupcakes! With my heartfelt thanks!

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Mercer Island Half Marathon

March 18th marked the 45th anniversary of the Mercer Island Half. It was a beautiful gorgeous spring morning. When we arrived, lots and lots of runners were inside the Mercer Island community centre. It was a bit chaotic. On the lower floor, runners were picking up their running bibs, and every room in the centre was full. In an effort to control the flow of people, security allowed only a one-way entry onto the lower floor, and anyone trying to get back up onto the main floor had to walk outside and re-enter through the main entrance.

We walked into a room full of runners stretching, families preparing their kids for the kids’ dash, 5k runners, 10k runners, half marathon runners. Everybody seemed to be busy, the buzz was just wild.

As I was sitting down, I looked out the window and caught sight of the most beautiful view as the sun began piercing through the clouds I snapped a picture and was in awe, but as I looked further right, I realized the race director just started the 10k race and the runners were off. We had half an hour left before our 9 am start. So I began my pre-race routine and headed for the bathrooms. The bathroom line inside the building was so long that I decided to line up for the potties outside instead. DJs were playing music and runners slowly walked towards the start line. There were signs designating everyone to their desired corrals: finally 10 minutes per mile and over. I was in the last corral, although lots of runners beside me looked like they could belong to one of the faster corrals.

At precisely 9:00 a.m., the half started. The sun was shining bright. As each runner went through the chute, all the spectators were cheering. But soon after, we made a turn, and the hills began. But running in a big group made it seem like the hills were not such a big deal because everyone is in a pack. Realistically for me that day, they were not, for I was so mesmerized by all the unbelievable real-estate around me. These were all huge homes. Many with their private docks and sail boats. I just could not believe some of the sizes of these properties. They looked more like country clubs than residences. Absolutely right out of an architectural magazine. And the cars in the garages, oh my! So many nice cars.

Anyhow, the whole route was rather shaded, so even with the strong sun, it did not get overly hot. And the cops were super friendly. At certain angles you could peek down into the waters, and the lake was very pretty. The miles went by really fast, and by mile 12, I recognized a few familiar faces from past races running near me. One guy, he was injured so decided to take on the half that day. We were side by side, but he seemed to have more power in his legs that day than previously; each time there was a hill, he seemed to be able to stay ahead of me. When I got to the last half mile, I thought the hills were done, but there was this semi big hill waiting at the very end during the final 400 metres of the race. That was tough. Not too often I walk to the finish, but I thought about it. However, I was feeling strong enough to endure and push, but had the hills been longer, I definitely would have chosen to walk.

After crossing the finish line and receiving my medal, I sat down on the sidewalk to catch my breath.

Overall, this was a tough race. As you can see from the course map, there were lots of climbs and turns. But I like what the race supports. A fight against cancer. Plus, the course was absolutely gorgeous. A strong sense of community was very apparent, and the volunteers, they were just super friendly, which can make all the difference in a race.

Guess this passage summarized how my race was that day (see picture):

a half marathon test of will…

…once you have reached the end,

but you will find (despite the grind) you’ll want to try again.

Yes, how true this is! Until the next one!

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Green Sock Half & Shamrock’n Race 2017

Quite obviously, this was a St. Patty’s Day race! Gorgeous morning but still little on the chilly side. The race, organized by Try Events, had a half marathon distance, a 7 miler, and a 5km. On this day I ran the half, but I had run the half marathon in the past as well as the 7 miler, so I was quite familiar with the course.

The half consisted of a 2-loop trail around Burnaby Lake. Sometimes I enjoy doing a loop course like this one but other times, a point to point course is better. As runners thin out by the 2nd loop, it is usually a little more difficult to stay focused.

The first time I ran this race I didn’t realize this trail even existed – although it is right beside a highway, it is so tucked away that you feel like you are in a real forest. I like this trail because it is gently rolling and very serene, with little ducks in the pond and little streams as well.

I met a few runners that day: an old friend who was running a 5k, and then a running buddy doing the 7 miler.

As I injured my foot the week before, I was being extremely cautious not to twist it again. Turns out that overall my foot felt better than I expected but I still had to be careful because it still hurt on certain angles. I know I was being a rebel to run so soon after twisting it, but the softer trail surface was actually better for my footing than road running.

When I injured my foot, I could barely walk up or down the stairs. I was limping and hopping. The first few days hurt like crazy. But I stuck to the R.I.C.E. method (rest, ice, compression & elevate) to recover. I found that applying ice on my swollen foot helped so much. I did it about 4-5 times a day. Each time for about 15 min. The swelling had gone down quite fast, which allowed me to get back to racing quite soon after.

This wasn’t my fastest race, but to even finish it after having had a twisted ankle, I was in heaven! And to top it off, the finishers area had free pancakes. Yum! What a great way to celebrate! Not to mention, the medal was cute as ever.

A lot of the 7 milers dressed up for this St. Patty’s Day race. Nothing on me was green except my compression socks – guess that counts!

I chatted with the race director at the finish. He used to put on another race called the Rubber Ducky in the fall which runs the reverse (counter-clockwise) of this Shamrock race. He was seriously thinking about adding that race back to his series calendar – I hope he does!

Thanks Try Events, I always enjoy running your races. Great fun, great course & great volunteers!

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Fort 2 Fort Trail Run Half

This event, the Fort 2 Fort 8K and Half Marathon took place in February and was hosted by the Peninsula Runners. When I registered for this race, I thought it was going to be just another typical half marathon road race. Little did I realize that the race was actually part of the Fraser Valley Trail Run Series that consists of four races throughout the year, showcasing the beautiful parks of the Fraser Valley.

In the weeks leading up to this race, the weather had been cold, but not to the degree I was expecting for this particular day. The forecast for the city called for cold weather with the possibility of light snow. When I arrived at the race venue, the grounds were icy and covered with rather thick, heavy snow. Although I was mentally prepared for cold weather, I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be this icy.

The bib pick-up was in the morning. I got there early, but when I noticed that there was only one port-o-potty, I got my husband to drive back out to the nearest Starbucks so I could use a decent washroom. As we returned, the parking lot was starting to fill with cars and runners.

Prior to the race start, it seemed that nobody could figure out where the actual start line was as it wasn’t obvious. Everyone followed each other, eventually standing about 100 metres ahead of the start line until we were instructed to walk back to the “marked” line on the trail.

I looked around me and realized that I was surrounded by some serious trail runners. They all had the right trail shoes or at least had the traxx on their shoes, but I did not. That was my fault for not realizing I signed myself up for a trail race! I did a race earlier in the year where I had slipped and slid because I wore improper footwear, but what were the chances that I would encounter another snowy/icy race which would require me to have spikes on my shoes…guess I was wrong!

For the first 100 metres, I knew I would be up to some kind of challenge. It was either going to be the technical trail and/or the weather, or both. I struggled from the beginning of the race. The course included 2 rather technical and hilly loops early on before easing into some flatter trails. However, these trails were well covered with tree roots and a fairly uneven surface. As I was into about my 13k, I heard 2 dogs barking, got distracted and twisted my left foot onto this huge tree root. That hurt like crazy, but I kept running. Then about 2K later, my left foot slipped again on a patch of ice and I thought I had to call it quits for real. I tried to walk it off, but I felt my foot swelling up. I continued racing nevertheless. This same incident happened to me a year ago at another trail race where I injured my left foot. That time it took me almost 3 weeks to fully recover…

This time, it was little less severe, I continued running on the  pain on my left foot, barely a quick jog  to make it to the turn-around which was at Fort Langley. In that area, there was even more ice patches. I personally found the ground treacherous. But to finish, I still had 3K to go. Each additional step felt like it would still take an eternity to get to the finish. Bearing the pain though, somehow I made it back in one piece. My husband was waiting for me at the finish, chatting with the race director and the Mizuno shoe rep. My foot had swollen up at least one shoe size by this point. I did not want to interrupt their conversation but I joined in anyway. They were real nice people. It was my first time meeting the race director. His credentials were truly impressive.

The race had no medals, but the experience of running a real trail race was priceless. I only have myself to blame for being careless in tripping my foot.

I will continue on my next blog as to what happened to my foot 🙂

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Birch Bay Half Marathon

In the second week of February, I ran the Birch Bay Half Marathon, a race that I have done before. It was a very cold, crisp morning but the skies were a gorgeous blue colour.

When I arrived at Birch Bay, which is just a short drive south of the US-Canada border, I saw a few of my Marathon Maniacs friends. As usual, they were the serious, enthusiastic ones who were running the marathon distance. Meanwhile, compared to them I was the “wimpy” one who chose the half distance.

I don’t know why I chose to wear capris because immediately after stepping outside my butt and legs were freezing! At the beginning of the race, my whole body just couldn’t get going. Like a car, I almost need anti-freeze! The half marathoners and marathoners started together. I think I was the last one to cross the start.

This is a course that I am familiar with because I have run races in Birch Bay for the last 5-6 years. The close proximity to home makes this location a great choice to run races, and so I find that Birch Bay races attract quite a number of Canadians, although this time it attracted runners from as far away as New York! I also like the fact that these races are typically smaller and the volunteers and organizers are always friendly. Having run so many of them now, I have become acquainted with the Birch Bay running community.

I like that this course loops around the Bay. It is very hilly, but such a lovely course. The half marathoners ran one loop around the Bay, while the full marathoners did two loops, as well as an extra mini loop around mile 6 or 7. The marathoners appeared to all be fast. I felt fine after warming up a couple of miles into the race, but then came a long stretch of about a one-mile long hill. I walked parts of it, which helped make it more manageable. On certain days, hills aren’t so bad, but on this particular day, it was real tough! The half marathoners split from the marathoners after this major hill. The fulls turned right while we continued onto the left and followed a different route back down to the water towards the finish line. This year, there was not much of a head-wind luckily, or else that combined with the icy cold weather would have been brutal. So, the back half of the race was actually quite pleasant. Very friendly residents were out for their walks, and the volunteers were diligent in ensuring water and snacks were out on the tables.

The biggest challenge was the last mile and a half. I could see the finish in the distance, but it was deceiving due to the curves of the roads. Many full marathoners were already onto their second loop at this point, and they were so friendly – when I should have been cheering them on, instead, they were so nice to cheer me on. I pushed to the finish, and when I got there, lots of runners had already finished their races. By then, the sun was brightly shining. There were many smiles at the finish, and every runner seemed happy to be done, especially me 🙂

Another Birch Bay race complete…but no doubt I will be back for more!

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